Saturday, August 2, 2014

Bad Argument: The "We shall see" parting shot and how it's linked to cultism

When defenders of a certain scheme ran completely out of viable arguments, they will often depart with a throwaway comment:
"we shall see"
It has several variations, like
"Time will tell"
"History will be the judge"
"Truth will prevail"
and such.

This is a pretty lame departing shot, as it basically demonstrate they have *faith* that they will be vindicated eventually, but they don't have any evidence to support their opinion right now, which makes that a BELIEF.

  1. 1.
    complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
    "this restores one's faith in politicians"
  2. 2.
    strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
    synonyms:religionchurchsectdenomination, (religious) persuasion, (religious) belief, ideologycreedteachingdoctrine More

Note definition #2... "based on ... apprehension rather than proof".

That's exactly what happened here... they have only their own apprehension of how the scheme will make them rich, rather than actual proof. It's religious, rather than evidence-based.

The fact that many scheme promoters behave in a religious fashion have lead to cult experts in calling such schemes "commercial cults".

In an article published in the Huffing Post, cult expert Steven Hassan stated:
...sometimes these schemes employ the same mind control techniques that abusive cults use. Recruitment rallies may run till early hours of the morning; the schemes are presented as the "last best hope." Critics and doubters are cast "losers" and "dream stealers." In this way, Amway's recruiting organizations (as well as other, similar MLM schemes), can themselves be considered destructive cult groups. But these groups are commercial cults that are offering a type of transcendental ideology that is not much different from that found among the religious cults. Their salvation lies in a financial promise.
That's why many commercial cults are cozy with self-help industry: they both claim to provide salvation... The commercial cults promised financial salvation, while self-help promise secular yet spiritual salvation.

Commercial cults, which can be both pyramid and ponzi schemes (which then takes on disguise of legitimate multi-level marketing) often have a charismatic leader who is well-versed in manipulation of his followers, which may even lead to physical and sexual abuse. No, that's not a joke. Look up these real examples:

  • Keith Raniere and NXIVM. Raniere's followers actually believe that Raniere don't drive because his spiritual energy was so strong he can set off police radars (WTF?!)  Yet people apparently paid the guy thousands of dollars for "spiritual enlightening" from "the Vanguard" (whatever that means)
  • Tzachi Gozali and Herbalife (Israel)  Gozali recruited young Israeli discharged soldiers (with their discharge payment) by waiting outside barracks with fancy cars and his prettiest "GTEAM" members... with promises of riches if they follow his every command, including who to talk to (only senior GTEAM members) and who to have sex with (no one, unless it's with him, and he only likes skinny girls). 
If you realized a friend's latest obsession is all about promises and faith, s/he may be under influence of a cult. And one of the simplest signs is they can't argue with facts, but instead, answer with their own faith as conviction. 


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